Culture of Kyrgyzstan
As a result of its varied and turbulent history
, the country throughout the centuries became a real melting pot of nationalities: The ethnic group of the Kyrgyz, traditionally nomads that still nowadays often live as half-nomads (see also "Kyrgyz people and their traditions"), makes up only a bit more than 50% of the population. The two other important ethnic groups are Russians and Uzbeks, both with about 15 % of the population. The Russians came into the region during the 19 th century, and especially the capital Bishkek, only 125 years old, is heavily influenced by the Russian way of life and Soviet architecture. Because of this people, also the second-biggest religious group in the mostly muslim country (80%) are Russian-orthodox. The Uzbek people lives to its biggest part in the south of the country, close to the border to Uzbekistan . This part of the country is also much more influenced by muslim traditions
than the rest.
Other people out of those more than 80 nationalities and ethnic groups living in Kyrgyzstan
are European ones like Germans or Ukrains, muslim chinese people like Dungans and Uighurs, as well as Tatars.
Although there are so many different people living in the region, whose lifestyle and traditions
sometimes differ a lot, they all have one thing in common: The typical Central Asian hospitality, that can in no way be compared with the way guests are greeted in the western world: Never you will come across a yurt without being invited for a cup of the national drink Kymyz and a snack, never you will be invited into the house of locals without facing a table, completely full of delicacies already before the main dish is served. Nontheless, gastronomy is only one way where hospitality is shown: The warmth and openness of the people can be felt already when you first get acquainted, and at the second meeting you're very often already considered as a family member!